HTML Multimedia

Multimedia is almost anything you can hear or see (e.g. sound, music, images, records, videos, films, animations, etc.). It comes in different formats. Web pages can contain multimedia elements of different formats and types.

Multimedia Tags

HTML allows adding different multimedia files on your website by various multimedia tags. These tags include:

  • <audio> for displaying a audio file on the web page,
  • <video> for displaying a video file on the web page,
  • <embed> for embedding multimedia files on the web page,
  • <object> for embedding multimedia files on the web page.
  • <iframe> for embedding other web pages.

Multimedia Formats

Multimedia elements such as audio or video are stored in media files. You can discover the file type by looking at the file extension.

Multimedia files have formats and different extensions: .mp3, .mp4, .mpg, .swf, .wav, .mpg, .wmv, and .avi.

Audio Formats

The newest format for compressed recorded music is MP3. This term is synonymous with digital music.

MP3 is a good choice if your website is about recorded music.

Format File Description
MIDI
(Musical Instrument Digital Interface).
.mid
.midi
This is the main format for all electronic music devices (e.g. synthesizers and PC sound cards). MIDI files contain digital notes that can be played by electronics, but they do not include sound. It plays well on music hardware and computers, but not in web browsers.
RealAudio .rm
.ram
Allows streaming of audio with low bandwidths. In web browsers, it does not play.
WMA .wma This format has been developed by Microsoft and is usually used in music players. It plays well on Windows computers, but not in web browsers.
AAC .aac This format has been developed by Apple as the default format for iTunes. It plays well on Apple computers, but not in web browsers.
WAV .wav This format has been developed by IBM and Microsoft. It plays well on Windows, Linux, and Macintosh operating systems. Supported by HTML5.
Ogg .ogg This format has been developed by the Xiph.Org Foundation. Supported by HTML5.
MP3 .mp3 This is the most popular format for music players. The format has good compression (small files) and high quality. Supported by all browsers.
MP4 .mp4 This is a video format but can be used for audio as well. MP4 video is the future video format on the internet leading to automatic support for MP4 audio by all browsers.

Only WAV, MP3, and Ogg audio formats are supported by the HTML5 standard.

Video Formats

Format File Description
MPEG .mpg
.mpeg
This format has been developed by the Moving Pictures Expert Group. It is the first popular video format on the web. Not supported in HTML5.
AVI
(Audio Video Interleave)
.avi This format has been developed by Microsoft. It is normally used in TV hardware and video cameras. It plays well on Windows computers, but not in web browsers.
WMV
(Windows Media Video)
.wmv This format has been developed by Microsoft. It is normally used in TV hardware and video cameras. It plays well on Windows computers, but not in web browsers.
QuickTime .mov This format has been developed by Apple. It is normally used in TV hardware and video cameras. It plays well on Apple computers, but not in web browsers.
RealVideo .rm
.ram
This format has been developed by Real Media and allows video streaming with low bandwidths. It is still used for Internet TV and online video but does not play in web browsers.
Flash .swf
.flv
This format has been developed by Macromedia. It often requires a plug-in to play in web browser.
Ogg
Theora Ogg
.ogg This format has been developed by the Xiph.Org Foundation. Supported by HTML5.
WebM .webm This format has been developed by Mozilla, Opera, Google, and Adobe. Supported by HTML5.
MPEG-4
or MP4
.mp4 This format has been developed by the Moving Pictures Expert Group. It is generally used in TV hardware and newer video cameras. Recommended by YouTube. Supported by all HTML5 browsers.

Only WebM, MP4, and Ogg video formats are supported by the HTML5 standard.

Browser Support

Audio, video and animation have been treated differently by the major browsers. They support different formats, but some formats require plug-ins to work.

With HTML5, multimedia will be handled easier in the future.




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